Know Your Participation Options
Your Membership Options
Do you know that you don’t have to be a union member? There may be refund options your union does not want you to know about, or facts about your membership of which you have never been made aware. For more information, click here.
If you choose to remain a union member, there are many ways you can help to affect union policy. Find out how to do this and much more by reading below.
Your Union Participation Options At A Glance
Do You Know Your Options to Participate in Union Policy Making as a Member?
Potentially, having union members of varying viewpoints get involved in union policy making can bring greater balance and transparency into the union. However, this is a time commitment that each member must weigh carefully. Participation can occur at many levels of the organization. For a thorough description of these options, talk with your local union president or inquire directly at the California Teachers Association website or offices.
Local Union Participation
Local participation can involve becoming a school site representative for the teachers in your school. Local unions may differ slightly in how they structure the duties of school site representatives. However, they attend several local meetings per year. They also help represent fellow teachers during disputes with local administrators.
State Union Participation
One of the most influential ways to participate in union policy making is to run to become a representative at the CTA State Council of Education, where eight hundred teachers from all over the state meet to decide policy for the California Teachers Association. Among other things, these members are responsible for voting on dues raises and political positions of CTA on state issues.
National Union Participation
Every year NEA holds an annual meeting in a major U.S. city lasting about a week over the Fourth of July. Delegates numbering between 9,000 - 11,000 participate in voting on national union policy on a wide range of issues. The meetings are conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order. Hearings from the Budget and Resolutions Committees are also held for all members to attend, whether or not they are elected as delegates. There is also a 2 ½ day exhibit. Expenses for attending this convention are most often covered in part or full by local or state unions. Elections to become a delegate to the Representative Assembly of the NEA are held in the spring of each year. Delegates attend an after school preliminary meeting in their local area and receive a delegate packet of information to prepare for the Annual Meeting. All the policies adopted by NEA over the years can be viewed in the NEA Handbook.
Members may also start a special interest caucus. NEA has approved approximately a hundred special interest caucuses which are formed solely for the purpose of influencing NEA policy. Members of a caucus work together at the annual meeting to present their particular viewpoints. The special interest caucus list is not available in the internet version of the NEA Handbook. However, members may call or email the NEA office to order their copy of the NEA Handbook. There the currently approved caucuses are listed with contact information. The guidelines for caucuses are also listed in the hardcopy of the NEA Handbook.